Hacks, Tips, Tricks, Short Cuts Feed

Sandwich baskets great for more than just sandwiches

By Mike Thayer

I hate doing dishes, even with a dishwasher available.  If there's a way to avoid doing dishes, even if it's simply rinsing off some plates and silverware and throwing them in the dishwasher, I'd just rather not.

20181228_084941Enter, Sandwich Baskets.

Whoever invented these things was a genius, I LOVE these things!  I have eight sandwich baskets sitting on top of my refrigerator at the ready, for whatever....  Able to hold a huge sandwich and a generous portion of fries, they're good for so much more. They're great for holding just about any kind of snack, no fuss, no mess...  Chips, popcorn, pretzels, nuts.  When you're done, just throw the parchment paper away, rinse off the basket and let dry for the next meal or snack.  They're not just for one person to use either.  Task the baskets to serve bread sticks or garlic bread, family style at the dinner table.  For a big Sunday family breakfast, serve bacon in a basket rather than dirtying up a plate.  They're space savers when it comes to storage (easily stackable), convenient to use, easy to wash, they're sturdier than paper plates and the best part, they're inexpensive. 

20181228_090532I picked up eight baskets at Dollar Tree for $5 (four sets of two at $1.25 each).  That's Bachelor on the Cheap wallet friendly and these baskets will last me a very long time.  I'll get multiple uses for serving up a vast variety of foods.  Just about any kind of finger food can go in a basket, chicken nuggets, tacos, onion rings, mozzarella sticks and marinara sauce....  Don't want bar food fare?  Slice up some fruit or toss in some veggies and dip, there's just so much you can serve in a basket.

Use them indoors, outdoors, get some for yourself, family use, parties, the backyard BBQ, picnics, casual holiday gatherings...

Pictured right, two bacon, egg and cheese breakfast sliders and hash browns....  It was another dose of YUM and super easy clean up!

$pend Wisely My Friends...

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Did you add to your food reserve today?

By Mike Thayer

Did you have a grandma and grandpa that had a cellar or basement full of canned goods and food supplies? 

Ball_jarI did, they were the parents of six kids, a farming family, living the hard life through the Great Depression.  They used their life skills to get through some very tough times.  Lessons of preparedness practiced during the Great Depression continued in later years even during good times.  Keeping a food reserve came in handy for example when bad weather affected the corn harvest and money got tight.    If it wasn't a bad harvest one year, it might have been low prices in another. 

I have fond memories of my grandparent's home, grandpa's chair, the cuckoo clock, the pictures, and the open basement which included shelves stocked with those Ball canning jars packed with cucumber pickles, assorted vegetables, jams, etc.  My grandparents were always putting a little bit of food aside for whatever tough times might come down the road.

My gut, and it's substantial, is telling me that we're going to go through some very tough times again.  Don't take my word for it, do some homework and see what's coming for yourselves.  I sincerely believe things are going to get much worse for this country economically and politically before it gets better.  I hope I'm wrong, I really do.  But I was taught to prepare for the worst and hope for the best.

So today, like I do everyday and since I don't can like my grandmother did, I made a small purchase to build my food reserve.  I spend a couple bucks a day on something, be it canned vegetables, a bag of rice, a box of salt.  If I'm out-and-about running an errand or two, I stop at a store and pick something up. 

Bottled Water
Put a few in the fridge for on-the-go use. The rest go on a shelf for later use.

Today I didn't 'can' though, I bought a 24 bottle pack of drinking water at Aldi $2.99.  It beats the price of water at Dillon's (Kroger brand), a 24 bottle pack for $3.59.   Tomorrow when I'm running some errands, I might get a couple cans of corn or green beans somewhere if I'm out-and-about.  Friday it might be a small bag of pasta I pick up if I'm doing things in the Walmart neck of the woods.

I treat my food reserve like a savings account.  It needs to build, it's not something to select ingredients from for tonight's meal.   It's for emergencies, for tougher times.

Why did I buy water when I've got it coming from the tap courtesy of the city?  Because you never know when a boil order or some other emergency might come and in fact the city of Wichita where I live, just went through a water boil advisory thanks to their 80+ year old water treatment plant.  When there's flooding, area towns issue boil orders.  It's comforting to know that you've got bottled water already on hand because guess what gets sold out first at the grocery stores?  Yep, water.  

Most of the bottled water on the shelves are good for about one year after purchase.  A person needs about a gallon of water a day.  Most of it to consume, a little to prepare food, a little to wash with, brush teeth with. 

Stocking up on water saves money, prevents hassle 

When it comes time to take a vacation, go to a sporting event, or a simple walk on a trail, I always pack some bottled water.  I'll  take some bottles of water from my food reserve with me so I don't have to buy the pricey stuff on the road.  Hotel water usually tastes like crap and you have no control over the quality.  With bottled water and a brand you trust, you know you have good water.  And here's an ewwwww factor, sometimes those rest stops or gas station restrooms aren't the cleanest..... Once in awhile you run into one of those "Why the heck is that clerk twiddling thumbs behind the counter when the restroom looks like this?" situations and guess what, their sink isn't working to boot.  Or how about attending a carnival or festival and the sanitizer gizmo is empty in the Johnny On The Spot?  So it's nice to have water on hand at all times in your vehicle for drinking or washing....  Using it like this is a good way to rotate your water stock too.  You take water from your food reserve nearing its expiration date with you on your travels and replace it with a fresh supply after vacation.

So what did you add to your food storage today?

$pend Wisely My Friends...

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Spruce up your drinks with home made syrups

By Mike Thayer

Vanilla Syrup
A vanilla syrup to have with my morning coffee

Regular readers know that I'm into flavored whiskeys, such as Revel Stoke Vanilla flavored whiskey .  I'm also into flavored coffee (hazelnut is my fave) and flavored tea (peach is SO good, but so is an Arnold Palmer). Heck, I like to flavor a simple glass of water, usually with a squeeze of fresh lime, sometimes I'll use one of those RealLime squeezer things and lately, it's been On The House Sweetened Lime Juice.

But I got to thinking, why pay extra for a flavored whiskey?  Why pay almost $4 for a bottle of sweetened lime juice?

Make your own sweetened syrup to add to your adult beverage, coffee, tea or water.  It's a great add to a smoothie too!

Today I'm making my own syrups, so far I've made a lime syrup and a vanilla syrup and they taste delicious.  They will keep in the refrigerator for better than two weeks and I'll have an assortment of syrups to choose from, spending pennies on the dollar compared to buying some kind of beverage that's already flavored or a store bought syrup.  I've got lime syrup for cocktails and to simply flavor a glass of water.  I've got vanilla syrup to flavor coffee, tea and yes, cocktails.  Seriously, why buy a vanilla flavored whiskey or vodka at $20 for a 750ml bottle when you can buy a Texas fifth (1.75L) for $14 and add a simple syrup to it?  Making your own syrup and adding it to a drink, be it a cocktail, coffee, tea, smoothie or water, saves you money without a sacrifice in flavor, and it doesn't take much time at all to make it!

Formula:

  • 1 cup water
  • 1 cup sugar
  • 1 Tablespoon flavoring

It's an easy formula, if you want more just double the 1-1-1 configuration.

Directions:

Bring the water and sugar to a boil in a small saucepan over medium heat.  Continue to cook at a rapid simmer (that means you have to stir constantly for those of you who live in Haysville) for about 8 minutes.  You want the syrup to thicken up a bit.  Remove from heat, stir in the flavoring and let cool.  Once cool, transfer to a squeeze bottle (available at Dollar Tree for $1.25) and refrigerate. 

Adding one Tablespoon of syrup to any kind of drink changes the flavor profile in a very good way.  But it does add about 50 calories to whatever you're inhaling so if you're counting calories, you may want to either cut back on the sugar, or use a sugar substitute.  Flavor results will vary, but play with it, it'll still be good and cost saving.  That's next on my experimenting, cutting the sugar with some Monk Fruit sugar substitute which I hear is pretty good.

The flavor options are pretty much endless too...  The flavors of orange, lemon, cherry, mint and yes even chocolate would work well with so many drink options.  Don't limit yourself!  Have fun with it.  I haven't quite worked out the Hazelnut flavor for my morning coffee yet, but I will be making an attempt with Nutella here in a bit, and I won't have to add any sugar.

Spruce up your drinks with home made syrups, you'll thank yourself for saving some money AND delivering some great flavor that you did yourself.

$pend Wisely My Friends...

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What to do with that leftover Easter ham - doctor up some Ramen

By Mike Thayer

Pork Ramen
If you don't have any pork flavored Ramen on hand, beef works too

Ramen soup, it's cheap, it's a budget food, a single-person's food, a plan 'B' food, a college dorm food, a don't-know-what-else-to-have-so-this-will-have-to-do food...

Don't just make it per the package instructions, liven things up!  And what a great way to use up some of those holiday ham leftovers...

Fire up the stove, heat up a sauce pan.  Throw in a tab of butter and some olive oil.  Next, rough chop some carrots and onions, throw them in the pan and let them cook a bit until they are tender crisp.  Toss in some of that leftover ham, chopped.  Grab a package of pork flavored Ramen soup (beef actually works too), put it in the pan with 2 cups of water. Add some garlic powder, a dash of black pepper, a dash of Louisiana hot sauce, a couple liberal dashes of Soy or Teriyaki sauce and 3 minutes later you've got a great bowl of soup!  Enjoy!  Other great adds to make your soup more robust with flavor is peas and/or mushrooms.

$pend Wisely My Friends...

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Using a plastic drawer set as a cold frame for the garden

Plastic Drawer Set
Use this in your garden

By Mike Thayer

I live in Kansas, so the temps vary big time.  In the spring months it could be 70 degrees one day and 32 degrees the next until Mother's Day, the last day on the Farmer's Almanac Calendar of when the danger of frost has passed.

Creating a cold frame can be intimidating though, the construction of wood frames, the use of plastics, perhaps an old storm window.  And the downside to building a cold frame such as this is it's set in a certain place in the yard.  Having a cold frame in an apartment or patio setting is not an easy thing to do.  Or is it...

Enter a cheat, the plastic drawer Cold Frame

Inexpensive Cold Frame
Seeds you start indoors can easily be hardened outside

Do you have one of those plastic drawer set on wheels that you no longer use?  Turn it into a cold frame.  Even if you don't have one of those on hand, they are inexpensive.  I picked one up today at Walmart for $20 for the sole purpose of using it as a cold frame, no construction required!   I've put all my starter pots that I started from seed indoors in it.  The drawers can be opened up during the day for ventilation and getting the starter plants acclimated to the great outdoors, then I can easily shut the drawers at night if there is a frost warning.  The top of the drawer set serves as a work surface.  On wheels, the 'cold frame' is mobile.  I can move it around to maximize sun exposure, or protect it from stormy weather (plus shutting the drawers).

Instant Cold Frame
Open the drawers by day, close at night

I could NOT have built a cold frame this mobile and easy to use for $20.  I've been able to house tomatoes, brussel sprouts, cucumbers and a variety of flowers in this easy peasy cold frame.  The three drawers provide ample space for all the seeds I've started indoors and will provide great protection from any frost warning, all I have to do is shut the drawers.

$pend Wisely My Friends...

Easy Peasy Cold Frame
Ample storage

$pend Wisely My Friends...

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How long can you keep meat in the freezer?

By Mike  Thayer

Frozen SteakA lot of people are stocking up on freezer items these days, with a focus on meats.  Some folks are doing so to fight inflation, prices of all meats are way up and will continue to do nothing but climb.  Other folks are buying up meats as a result of world events and supply chain concerns, out of fear some items will become scarce or unavailable.

Having some ground beef and boneless/skinless chicken breasts stashed in the freezer is pretty standard for a lot of us.  But how long can you keep meat in the freezer before it goes bad? 

According to FoodSafety.gov, frozen meat that's kept at a temperature of zero degrees Fahrenheit or lower will actually be safe to eat indefinitely.  But there are tangibles, like how the meat is wrapped and even how your freezer is packed that can make a difference in the meat quality down the road.  So the question isn't really if the meat is safe to eat or not (given your freezer never quit at any point), the real question is, "Will the meat be good to eat?"

Freezer burn is the #1 culprit in making meat from the freezer not so good, as in tasty, to eat.  Freezer burn is when air circulating in the freezer to keep things cold hits the meat, drying out a spot and making it leathery.  A rip in the packaging and/or poor wrapping will result in freezer burn and you can't pan sear, roast or grill freezer burn out of a piece of meat.  You can cut the freezer burn out of that burger patty or steak, but who wants to do that and eat 3/4 of a burger?  Nonsense.  Freezer burn is totally preventable.

Below is a list of meats and the recommended maximum time it should stay in your freezer.   Going beyond the recommended time doesn't mean the meat will go bad, it just means the flavor and tenderness is in decline.  Included with the recommended freezer times below are some tips and other guidelines so you won't have to ask yourself whether that steak you pulled out of the freezer is good to eat or not...  Keep in mind that with most meats, the flavor factor hits its peak at the four month mark.  Sure, you can freeze it longer than that, but that four month mark is key, when the flavor profile starts the decline. 

Beef - Roasts, Steaks:  Up to six months

Chicken - Whole:  Up to one year

Chicken - Parts, skin on, bone in:  Up to nine months

Chicken - Boneless/skinless breasts or thighs:  Up to six months

Pork- Shoulder:  Up to one year

Pork - Steaks, Ribs, Chops:  Up to six months

Bacon:  Up to six months...  Um, I've NEVER had bacon stay in my freezer that long, it's TOO TASTY!

Sausages, raw - Brats, Breakfast Links/Patties/Chubs, Italian Sausage, Mexican Chorizo and the like:  Up to four months

Sausages, pre-cooked, smoked - Andouille, Kielbasa, Hot Links and the like:  Up to eight months

Hot Dogs:  Up to eight months

Ground Meats - all types:  Up to four months

Lamb - Rack, Shanks, Chops:  Up to six months

Fish - Fatty types like Tuna and Salmon:  Up to three months

Fish - Leaner types like Cod or Tilapia:  Up to six months

*Vacuum sealing meats will extend freezer life another three to six months, but that is a story for another day.

Freezing chicken
Don't just throw it in the freezer like this...

Tip #1:  Make sure your freezer is free of frost, clean and the temperature set at zero degrees Fahrenheit or lower.   And did you know an empty freezer is not a very efficient one?  The only thing that keeps an empty or nearly empty freezer at the proper temperature is the electricity needed to run it.  When stocked properly, a freezer does not need to run as often to maintain the proper temperature, the frozen food inside is helping it do that.  But an overstuffed freezer isn't so efficient either.  Without proper air circulation a freezer has to work harder to maintain temperature and overstuffing can lead to blocking vents and sensors.  Ideally, your freezer should be 75 - 80% full for optimum performance.

Tip #2:  You can leave that steak you just bought in the Styrofoam bottom and plastic wrapped top if you want to, but doing so is the leading cause of freezer burn.  Don't get lazy in thinking, "I'll be eating this next week, it'll be fine," and just toss it in.  That packaging is designed for a fresh presentation, marketing you to buy it.  It's not made for the freezer.  Thin plastic wrap is also easy to tear when it gets placed in the freezer and bumps up against other products.  Perhaps you didn't get around to having that steak the next week and you finally pull it out to grill three months later.  Guess what?  Freezer burn!  If you don't have a vacuum sealer, invest in one.  In lieu of that, always have freezer bags on hand when stocking the freezer.  Foil and freezer paper are fine too but if none of that is possible, heck, repurpose the plastic grocery store bags if you have to and double wrap your meats.

Tip #3:  Always label and date the meat your are freezing, i.e., Pork Chop, 02/26/2022 and keep a copy of this blog post in your kitchen or by the freezer somewhere.  Properly labeling and dating your meats takes any guesswork out of the picture.  Some people will just throw something in a bag and toss it in the freezer, then four months later pull it out and the bag is all frosty/icey and they ask themselves, "What the "F" is this?"  Kind of makes meal prep a little harder, don't you think?

Tip #4:  Organize your freezer and rotate your meats.  Try to arrange your freezer by meat type and then date, with your oldest meats towards the front or top of your freezer.  A beef section by date, a chicken section by date, a sausage section by date and so on...  Don't just toss items in the freezer, that too, leads to freezer burn.  It may sound time consuming to organize and rotate, but it actually saves you a lot of time in the long run.  Look at all the bonuses:  Bonus #1 - an organized freezer that is 75 - 80% full is a happy, efficient, air circulating right freezer, running at proper temperature.  Bonus #2 - Items are much easier to find, no rummaging, no digging and pulling the older cuts of meat for a meal aides in the rotating process.  I've read countless Facebook posts where a guy asks if the twice frosted over steak he found at the bottom of his freezer dated two years ago under a bag of chicken wings is OK to eat.  Bonus #3 -   When making a list for the grocery store or butcher shop, take a quick peak in your organized and properly product rotated freezer, it makes shopping easier and you won't spend as much.

Now that you know how to keep frozen meats at their optimum flavor profile, go stock up!  You'll save money over future higher prices, you won't waste money by becoming a victim of freezer burn and you'll spend money more efficiently at the grocery store.

Related: Bachelor on the Cheap: Essential must haves for stocking your pantry and fridge

Related:Grilling Tips & Essential Tools

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If you appreciate the article you just read and want to support more great content on BachelorontheCheap.com, you can help keep this site going with a one-time or a monthly donation.  Thank you so much for your support! ~ Mike

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What to do with party leftovers

By Mike Thayer

Leftover Veggie Tray
One can only eat so much rabbit food as prepared...

So after living in an apartment for nearly six years, I recently moved into a house and had a house warming party, an opportunity for my friends to check out the new digs (I'll use any excuse for a party!).

Not wanting to cook or grill (no real time to visit), I ordered pizza and wings for the party, asking folks to bring a salad, side dish or dessert to share.  They brought a BOAT LOAD of food!

Browning Chicken Breasts
Browning some seasoned chicken breasts

I've got veggie trays, meat and cheese trays, desserts, pretzels and more which this Bachelor TRULY appreciates!

But I can't possibly eat all this stuff before those dreaded "Best By" dates hit, so what do I do with it all?

Cook, portion and/or freeze!

Here's an idea for veggie trays, make some soup.

Chopped veggies for soup
After the chicken is browned, pull from the pot, set aside for chopping later and add the veggies to the pot

Basically all I did was brown a couple seasoned chicken breasts, then chop up some vegetables and add them to the soup pot, pour in some water, let that all simmer for an hour or so, then I added some rice for a nice chicken and rice soup.  The house got to smelling SO good!  After letting the soup cool, I portioned it out for the freezer and some cold weather comfort food meals down the road.  Combined with a nice crusty garlic bread, it's another dose of YUM!

There are so many options when it comes to these meat, cheese and veggie trays.  Broccoli, cheese and sliced turkey over rice or noodles; ham fried rice, broccoli cheese soup; cauliflower and cheese casserole.  If you've got a few items in your pantry and fridge like onions, garlic, mushrooms, potatoes, rice, noodles, some bacon, everything is better with bacon - loaded cauliflower and cheese casserole topped with sour cream and bacon anybody?  It's actually kind of fun throwing a few ingredients together, almost like you're in an episode of Chopped on the Food Network, a show featuring party leftovers.   Creating some easy pop-in-the-microwave meals you can pull from your freezer later is a good time!

As far as all those desserts go, cakes freeze really well, just slice into individual portions and freeze.  Same goes for pies and cheesecakes.  Divy them up to enjoy later!  And if you feel ambitious, those pretzels in a food processor makes a great base for a crust or topping!

Chicken and Rice Soup
Delicious Chicken and Rice Soup and just look at that color!

Getting creative with party leftovers not only prevents spoilage, it saves you some money on that grocery bill!  I won't have to go shopping for awhile now thanks to my friends and those house warming donations!

$pend Wisely My Friends...

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If you appreciate the article you just read and want to support more great content on BachelorontheCheap.com, you can help keep this site going with a one-time or a monthly donation.  Thank you so much for your support! ~ Mike

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Garden Hack: Use coffee filters to line container drainage holes

By Mike Thayer

Weed barrier fabric
Don't use this to line your containers with...

Weed barrier fabric, a.k.a., landscaping fabric is a great product, preventing weed growth so your veggies and flowers can thrive.  It's great to line pathways with, keeping your mulch, stone or brick pathway clear of weeds.  Allowing water, air and nutrients to pass through it, weed barrier fabric also has another great use - you can line the inside bottom of your containers with it, allowing for drainage without losing soil through the hole(s). 

Starting at $12 for a small roll of thinner, lower quality fabric, you can pay up to $200 for the premium stuff, which is thicker, made of better material and comes in a bigger roll.

Coffee Filters
Use coffee filters instead!

But I say, don't even pay the $12 for the cheap roll if you're a container gardener, besides, there's way too much cutting involved to 'customize' the fabric to fit your container size.  Weed barrier fabric is good stuff, but coffee filters do the very same job and WAY cheaper!

Like the weed fabric, coffee filters allow for drainage at the bottom of your pot, without losing soil through the hole.  You just need one filter for larger pots, and you can get away with halving and quartering coffee filters down to size for smaller pots.  Here's the best part, you can get a package of coffee filters on the cheap!  A package of 100 filters cost me $1.25 at Dollar Tree.  That's enough "fabric" to do more than 100 pots! 

Get the weed barrier fabric for large jobs, use coffee filters for your containers!

$pend Wisely My Friends...

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If you appreciate the article you just read and want to support more great content on BachelorontheCheap.com, you can help keep this site going with a one-time or a monthly donation.  Thank you so much for your support! ~ Mike

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Meal prepping without a meal plan

By Mike Thayer

Roasted Red PeppersChop, chop, chop!

Some people like to plan their menus, to include yours truly, but a lot of people aren't really into doing that.  No harm, no foul and eating on a whim can be fun!  But eating on whim can also be disappointing and it often begs questions like, "What do I want to eat?" or worse yet, "What is there to eat?"

Avoid the - what sounds good? - mindset and do a bit of meal prepping, not for a particular meal or set of meals, but 'mini-prep' if you will, so that when you do decide to cook, it will make putting that meal together a whole lot easier and faster.  Take advantage of foods you already have on hand, but are about to expire and take advantage of your freezer. 

When I've got a bag of carrots in the fridge coming close to an expiration date for example, I will slice, dice, roast, saute and FREEZE.  This extends the expiration date, I avoid the throwing away spoiled food thing and when I'm cooking a meal down the road that calls for carrots or I just need a quick side dish, I've got it at the ready in the freezer in various forms.

If you've got some canned chic peas about to expire, make some hummus, enjoy some, throw the rest of the batch in the freezer.  TIP, rotate your canned goods, always keep cans with the farthest out date in the back of the pantry or cabinet.  Don't just stack cans you just bought at the grocery store on top of the ones collecting dust, rotate those cans!

Did you buy too much of an ingredient for a meal or for a party?  Slice it, dice it, cook it, whatever, FREEZE it. 

Peppers are something I tend to over-buy, but they freeze well in raw form and can be used in a variety of dishes.  Freezing will change the texture of a lot of veggies, keep that in mind, because if you like snacking on a sliced pepper for example, don't slice peppers up thinking you'll have a great but simple snack to pull out of the freezer down the road.  It won't be the same fresh, crisp bite you enjoyed when first bringing those peppers home from the grocery store.  The peppers will however deliver some excellent flavor in soups, stews and here's a great one:  Roast those red peppers, put them together with those chic peas in a food processor for some roasted red pepper hummus.  It's another dose of YUM!

Leftover rice?  Throw it in a container with a protein like shredded chicken or diced ham and you've got a convenient, impromptu meal you can pull from the freezer.  Leftover taters?  Same thing, throw it in a container with a protein to create a base for a convenient, impromptu meal.  Pairing a carb with a protein and stashing it in the freezer goes a long way towards helping you quickly decide what to eat later on and is a time saver.  Bonus, having a stash of ready to go ingredients in the freezer is healthier for you than processed foods.

Got some berries that are going to go bad soon?  You could make a pie, but if you're not really into baking, say hello to ice cream!  I'm into simple desserts and some ice cream topped with warmed up blueberries or strawberries is super easy to put together, satisfying and most importantly, tasty.  Most fruits freeze well in raw form and you can keep things like berries in single serving containers too, ideal for snacking or portioning.

Avoid food spoilage, slice, dice, roast, bake, grill, etc., and FREEZE!  Extend the life of your food and easily create quite a bit of variety by making smart use of your freezer.  You'll save time, money and another BONUS - no more "What is there to eat?" anxiety.

Related:  Plan your menus

$pend Wisely My Friends...

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Bachelor on the Cheap Tip: Keep ice on hand

By Mike Thayer

IceSo you're having a party, you think you've got it all covered with everything you need.....  And then it hits you - NOT ENOUGH ICE!  And your ice maker, if you have one, can't keep up with demand......

Oooops...

You've GOT to have ice for those drinks, right?  And then there's the ice needed to keep foods on the party buffet trays chilled.....

ALWAYS keep a bag of ice (if not two) in the freezer.  It doesn't matter if it's store bought, or something you broke ice for and filled some Ziplock bags with.  Keeping a bag or two of ice in the freezer means being prepared for a party, planned or impromptu.  It can mean not having to stop somewhere to get ice for the cooler for a fishing and/or other kind of road trip.   And hey, cracking your own ice saves a few bucks.  Some convenience stores charge way too much money for a frick'n bag of ice.  Save yourself the impromptu bag of ice price gouge.

And here's the bonus.  When there's that power outage - and that WILL happen - having that stash of ice in the freezer will help keep your frozen foods in good shape during the outage, extending the number of hours your freezer can safely hold food before it starts to suffer, leading to spoilage.  General rule of thumb, a full freezer can go about 48 hours, a freezer half full is good for about 24 hours, that is, provided you don't open it up!

Always have extra ice on hand.

$pend Wisely My Friends...

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